A snapshot of TxDOT’s preferred plan presented at the meeting on January 18 (Photo courtesy of Sarah Lamb).

The clock is ticking on neighbors’ ability to comment on the future of the Gaston-Garland-Grand intersection, and the Greater East Dallas Chamber of Commerce (GEDCC) is at odds with some Lakewood neighbors and the East Dallas Coalition of Neighborhoods about which plan best serves the neighborhood.

GEDCC released a statement in support of the Texas Department of Transportation’s (TxDOT) decision-making process and preferred design. The statement says the “Reverse T” design “appears to relieve congestion, and thus encourages drivers from ALL directions to decrease speed.”

The chamber’s statement says that the new traffic lights will “allow for successive ‘traffic gaps’ for pedestrians, cyclists, and commuters to navigate easily and safely through these vibrant business and residential areas.”

Based on data from TxDOT, traffic between Garland and Gaston is projected to increase in future decades (from 18,600 cars per day today to 25,750 in 2037), while traffic between Garland and Grand will do up (from 18,700 cars today to 25,850 in 2037).

Image courtesy of TxDOT

Meanwhile, Lakewood neighbor Sarah Lamb is concerned about TxDOT’s preferred option for the Gaston-Garland-Grand intersection, and 474 e-signatures joined her on a petition to stop what she calls “excessive traffic” spilling onto Gaston Avenue from Garland Road.

Lamb, who lives on Gaston, thinks that commuters will take the path of least resistance at the intersection, which goes from southbound Garland to westbound Gaston toward Lakewood. She believes the new plan will also lead too many drivers from Garland Road, a state highway, onto Gaston. Lamb doesn’t want to keep the neighborhoods east of the lake from using Gaston, but wants to encourage those from outside of East Dallas to stay on State Highway 78. “If someone lives in Casa Linda, we want them to take Gaston Avenue,” she says. “We want to make sure the traffic is going to Lakewood, not through Lakewood.”

“In a perfect world we would like one right turn lane onto our residential street,” she says, referring to the petition’s design with a single right turn lane heading to westbound Gaston. “Do we expect this? No, but it is a starting point. We want to make sure people have to make the decision to go on Gaston.”

The petition proposes a traditional “T” intersection with a turn lane from Garland to Gaston and a straightened version of Garland and Grand, which is curved in TxDOT’s plan. It says their design would “discourage the use of Gaston Ave. by those who simply pass through our neighborhoods for Downtown destinations at high speeds.”

Both the petition and the chamber’s statement say their preferred design lines up with the Garland Road Vision, a plan that focuses on development, transit and beautification in the area. The petition and the chamber both say their chosen option improves safety for pedestrians and cyclists and decreases traffic speed.

TxDOT will accept comments in support of or in opposition to their plan as long as they are postmarked by Friday, Feb. 2.

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